AI is on the verge of changing our world and countries around the world are rushing to develop domestic industries to capture their piece of the pie. While the US remains the global leader, a number of countries are stepping up with significant government support in an effort to stake their claims in this emerging industry.Read More
It wasn’t long ago that the response from almost every Silicon Valley VC to international founders was some form of “we don’t invest outside of the U.S.” or “we’ll invest in you, but only if you move here.” Never mind the thought of a VC ever leaving the comforts of Sand Hill Road to source deals elsewhere. But over the last 18 months, there’s been a noticeable change. Early-stage Silicon Valley investors are increasingly looking outside of California for deal flow, investing in foreign companies without the pretext of moving to the U.S., and even marketing themselves and their firms to foreign founders. What’s going on?
To be fair, a handful of early-stage investors have had a global outlook for some time (most notably 500 Startups, which has invested in startups in more than 60 countries), but with the exception of individual expat investors dutifully keeping an eye on their home countries, the vast majority of early-stage Silicon Valley investors have remained firmly focused on the 101. Semil Shah captured this conventional thinking in a 2016 post describing Venture Capital as a Hyperlocal Game.
Fast-forward to today and the conventional wisdom is going the same way as many of the Bay Area’s residents. Semil’s own thinking has evolved and he now actively invests outside of the Bay Area (although still mostly in the U.S.). Elizabeth Yin, co-founder of Hustle Fund and a former 500 Startups Partner, recently noted that the cost-of-living in the Bay Area has reached a level that both prevents new founders from moving to the Silicon Valley and forces many prospective founders here to take their startup ideas to more affordable cities. When combined with the continuing maturation of second tier startup ecosystems, the result is more, higher-quality companies being founded outside of the Silicon Valley than ever before.
Echoing the growing acceptance of distributed teams, early-stage investors are finally starting to shed their discomfort around remote investments. The fact that rising costs in the Bay Area are accompanied by skyrocketing valuations for startups is undoubtedly helping to accelerate this shift. Silicon Valley investors who previously saw only risk in international investments now see the opportunity to invest in high quality startups at a lower valuation, while still being able to engage with the founders and help them succeed.
For international founders, particularly those in leading international ecosystems like Toronto, Montreal, London, Paris and Singapore, there's never been a better time to fundraise from Silicon Valley VCs.
Time to get that plane ticket.
I joined 500 Startups at the beginning of 2017, after more than 12 years working at enterprise data startups. By then, I’d tried my hand at nearly every role one could imagine in a startup - from programmer to professional services, sales ops to CEO (and late-night janitor more times than I could remember). With two exits under my belt and experience as an advisor and angel investor, I wanted to see if I could contribute to the ecosystem on a larger scale.Read More
If you’re a startup planning to fundraise, you need to have an investor dashboard. Also known as the CEO dashboard, executive dashboard or KPI dashboard, this is the place where board members, potential investors and your team can see the company’s key metrics. In this post, I’ll show how easy it is for any startup to use Google Data Studio to create a live dashboard of their key metrics for free.Read More
One of the exciting early milestones for every startup is launching your first website. That moment when you announce your company to the world. You want to make a great first impression, but it's easy to get carried away and spend weeks on it (when you really need to get back to building your product and generating early revenue). By leveraging today's SaaS services, you can launch an analytics-ready, SEO-optimized website in 48 hours.Read More
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Many startups generate large amounts of data as part of their normal operation. It seems obvious that all that data is valuable, but where does a resource-strapped startup begin? Here are 5 ways startups can leverage big data nowRead More
Inbound marketing is based on the idea that by creating valuable, quality content, you can pull people towards your company and product. The most effective content for inbound marketing is also unique (why would you bother reading an article if you’ve already read five just like it?). Here's how to create unique content by using your data for inbound marketing.Read More